Many children’s books have one key illustrator with whom the work has become associated (E. H. Shepard for Winnie the Pooh, Quentin Blake for Roald Dahl etc). Collodi’s Pinocchio, however, has been illustrated countless times and in many different ways, a phenomenon which has contributed in no small way to its long-standing and multigenerational appeal. Roberto’s Innocenti’s illustrations, with their realistic depictions of nineteenth-century Tuscany undoubtedly underline the novel’s contemporary, Italian significance. They are, however, also a powerful tribute to the novel’s allegorical symbolism as well as to the universal myths and belief systems that render this text an international classic. This lecture will explore Pinocchio’s illustrated history in order to identify some of the reasons why it has proved so appealing to illustrators in the century and a half since its production. It will conclude with an analysis of Roberto Innocenti’s illustrations for Pinocchio, considering how the Italian artist’s employment of the visual codes integral to picturebooks (Moebius, 1986) sheds new light on the text whilst simultaneously paying tribute to its classic status.
Required Advanced Reading
- Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio (Creative Editions, 2004)
- Moebius, William. (1986) “An Introduction to Picturebook Codes”, Word and Image, 2 (2), pp. 141-51.
Myers, Lindsay, “Roberto Innocenti HCA Illustrator Medallist”, Bookbird, 46, 4 (2008), pp. 31-37.
Assignment for students taking credits
Choose one of the illustrations created by Roberto Innocenti for Pinocchio that was not discussed by me in the lecture and comment as critically as you can on its composition, style and content. Reflect not just on what is portrayed and how but on what aspects of the novel you think the illustration underlines. Send this piece of writing to me at firstname.lastname@example.org before July 17, 2020.
Preparatory Questions for the Online Discussion
How did you first encounter Pinocchio? What did you know about the story and what image of the puppet did you have in your mind? Did reading the original surprise you in any way? If so how? Please upload your thoughts to the forum by 6.30 p.m. on July 9 so that we can reflect on these as a group from different national perspectives in the online discussion session.